Source: China State Council Information Office
Lewis Hamilton took a commanding victory in Sunday’s Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix to break the sport’s all-time win record.
Despite dropping from first to third on the opening lap, the Briton retook the lead from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas on lap 20, and controlled the rest of the race to take his landmark 92nd career victory.
The Portuguese Grand Prix was one of several races to have been added to the 2020 F1 calendar at short notice, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancelation of many early-season events.
This was the first time that the Algarve International Circuit in Portimao had held an F1 race, and its combination of sweeping turns, frequent undulation and a low-grip surface proved a unique challenge for the drivers.
Though Hamilton and Bottas had dominated qualifying and lined up first and second on the grid, the cold conditions meant both drivers struggled for grip on their medium compound tyres at the start, allowing the soft-shod McLaren of Carlos Sainz to take a surprise lead on lap 1 from sixth on the grid.
However, normal service was resumed as the Mercedes’ tyres warmed up, as Bottas took the lead from Sainz on lap 6, with Hamilton passing the Spaniard for second a lap later.
After seemingly being content to follow Bottas in the opening stages of the race, Hamilton eventually closed on the Finn and soon swept by to take a lead he was not to lose, also taking home the bonus point for fastest lap.
“I should have tried to defend from Valtteri [at the start] but I thought I’d come back later on, and that was what I was able to do,” said Hamilton afterwards.
“I could never have dreamed of being where I am today. It’s going to take some time to sink in. I was still pushing flat out coming across the line. I can’t find the right words at the moment,” added the Briton.
Behind the Mercedes duo, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen survived a lap 1 tangle with the Racing Point of Sergio Perez to take third place.
Charles Leclerc produced another impressive drive to finish fourth in his Ferrari, while AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly took fifth with Sainz sixth, after both drivers overtook Perez in the closing laps as the Mexican struggled on older tyres.
Renault’s Esteban Ocon finished eighth ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo, while Leclerc’s teammate Sebastian Vettel rounded out the points positions in tenth.
Hamilton’s win sees him edge a step closer to a record-equaling seventh world title, and the Briton now has 256 points, giving him a 77-point lead with just 130 left to play for. Bottas remains some way back in second with 179 points, while Verstappen stays third on 162.
In the constructors’ standings, Mercedes have a commanding lead with 435 points. Red Bull are still second with 226 points, and Racing Point sit third with 126 points.
The next round of the championship sees Formula 1 return to Italy for the third time this season, for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on November 1.